gratitude

10 Years - and my sincere #gratitude!

Something pretty magnificent took place on July 14, 2017.

Thank you to Ryan Hampton's #VOICESPROJECT for featuring me on my 10 year anniversary.

Thank you to Ryan Hampton's #VOICESPROJECT for featuring me on my 10 year anniversary.

I celebrated 10 years aka ONE DECADE (!) of continuous sobriety/long-term recovery.  

Truly hard to believe. My life has gone in many directions since that fateful New York City hospitalization late the night of July 13, 2007. In some ways, I wouldn't wish my experience on anyone else - because I was in pain and hiding behind shame and not to mention the fact that I was destroying my insides and outsides with binge drinking. Even though it was over the moon fun at times - a wild roller-coaster of parties and life whooshing like a metaphorical convertible with the top down on a wide open highway - it was getting dark and fast. They say it's a progressive disease - alcoholism and all its relatives: at risk drinking, binge drinking, etc. If I hadn't chosen the path of sobriety when I did, who knows how bad it could have gotten.

I, for one, am glad I didn't have to find out. 

Sometimes I wish the whole world had a program of recovery - whatever that program may be - because it gives them a moral code for living and improving their own and others' lives. It allows for service to others; it makes us grow as individuals. Besides the fact that it's HEALTHY to not poison our bodies and minds and souls and spirits with toxins. 

Every year I go to a candlelight 12-step meeting to celebrate my anniversary - the men and women in the room never judge me for only showing up once a year (editor's note: I'm the one who judges myself most harshly. Wait. I don't need an editor's note. I'm the writer *and* the editor. Giggle)  Because remember - the only requirement for membership to Alcoholics Anonymous is a desire to stop drinking. You can be a member of however many or few programs as you want - you are the boss of your own recovery and there's power in owning your own path. Please believe me - and know that it's taken me years (ten, to be exact) to get to where I am today.

^ Here I am with one my closest friends in recovery, Amy. She and I met one year ago at Tom Coderre's [this guy is kind of a big deal in the recovery policy/advocacy world] summer recovery BBQ and she's become my SOUL SISTER since. In May, we traveled to New York together for She Recovers in NYC and met up with two of our other sober sisters, Nona and Robin.  (See below images: left image L to R: Robin, Nona, Amy, me; right image L to R: Amy, me, Robin, Nona).

If not for being in recovery and wanting to give back to others and improve my own journey and connect with other creative spirits - I wouldn't have started The Sobriety Collective in April of 2015. This collective? It's for you. And for me. But it's about YOU, about US. I want your suggestions and feedback -- what would you like to see this coming year? There are plenty of exciting updates coming your way soon but for now, my greatest joy is to share others' journeys with you in the sporadicly updated RePro section. Writers, artists, entrepreneurs, musicians, athletes, advocates, filmmakers and photographers - these are the people whose recovery (from addiction and mental illness) I'll be sharing with you. 

Thank you all <3. 

Thank you all <3. 

Lastly, I want to give my thanks to all of you who contributed to my GoFundMe campaign when I was at a recent financial low. Money sobriety is something I'm still struggling with - and I didn't realize the cost of this undertaking until it bit me squarely in the rear. With your help, I was able to sock a bit away and pay for a full year of web-hosting. If you still want to donate, I'm not going to say no. But I just wanted to extend my most sincere gratitude to all of you. 

Thank you so, so much.

Love,
Laura

#IAMSHATTERPROOF (pt. 1)

Wow, you guys.

I was *the* #2 fundraiser in all of Washington, D.C.  With YOUR help, I raised $2,001!  Kind of a perfect number, actually--HS graduating class of 2001, baby! I had the most donors out of all participants (36) and helped shatter the stigma of addiction on Friday, September 25 in Washington, D.C. as I rappelled off Lafayette Tower.  This is something I hope to continue doing every day (um, shattering the stigma, not rapelling off 12 story buildings.  Just sayin ;)

Recovery is possible.  It's amazing!  And it's real.

None of this would have happened had it not been for the bravery of Gary Mendell, founder of Shatterproof.  Gary's son Brian lost his battle with addiction on October 20, 2011.  Something that would truly shatter most parents, friends, siblings, spouses instead took on a transformation--tragedy turned into hope.  I am so honored to now be a part of the Shatterproof family and to have met the man himself.  

That's us. &nbsp;Just hanging out pre-rappel;)

That's us.  Just hanging out pre-rappel;)

And yep, that's a nifty GoPro camera mounted on my helmet.  There's video!  In my adrenaline fear/excitement and just general OMG-ness, I totally forgot to thank someone who's been a wonderful and amazing presence in my life the past 1.5 years: my BF, Whitney.  Thank you for all your support and love, W <3.  

In no particular order, I'm going to thank my donors.  Cuz, you know, I do what I want ;)

IRL donors:

Mama and Papa
Whitney
Whitney's mom
Dana, top donor and new friend!
Gwen, breast cancer crusader and friend of my late Aunt Jane
Sarah, BFF
My cousins Melanie and Lisa
Aunt Linda
Stacy and Tim, gym buddies
The Dr. Cocolis Fam
2nd Cousin Jeff
Jill, my 9th grade science teacher
Jen and Jenny, HS friends
Jackie, Avon 39 BFF
Krystal, Karen, Jenn, and Scott--former colleagues

And now, from the #RecoveryFriendlyWeb:

@KLENandSOBR
@djfmdotcom
@danthestoryman
@annabdavid
@nlcarr
Karen from @narconon
@peterg323
@ivanagrahovac1
@28daysmore
@virtuallynadine
Matt from @therealedition
Mike Smith from @surrenderfriday
MOI aka @wearesober (of course I donated to such a great cause!)

Stay tuned for pt. 2...photos of me and my Mama, video of the descent, and more.

Love,
Laura

 

Sobriety *is* everywhere!

When I first started TSC (

the sobriety collective

[lowercase, i know--artfully done a la e.e. cummings) oh so many days ago

, I was coming from a place of wanting and NEEDING to connect with other sober people.  Especially folks who have different perspectives on what it takes to get and stay sober.  In all honesty, I felt like the only person who just didn't get the 12-step mentality.  And trust me, I will *always* be grateful for the responsibility statement because it's there for people who need it, and I may be one of those people down the road (and *have* been before).  But I wasn't seeing voices and perspectives like mine....UNTIL NOW.

I'm overwhelmed by the amazing, individual, rock solid voices

I'm encountering on the Sobriety Internets, if you will.  And people with stories from 12-step communities are are part of that collection of voices because everyone's recovery is their own.  Our shared experience as sober folk navigating a world of booze booze drugs booze booze [insert vice of choice here] is unified--but every single one of you *does* have something unique to offer, because no one in the world is you, other than YOU.  Yes, dammit, we *are* SPECIAL SNOWFLAKES.

Hip Sobriety

Klen & Sober

Dan the Story Man

Adventures of a Sober Senorita

I Fly at Night

Just a few examples of who/what I've found...just this week alone.

I'm overwhelmed by gratitude and positivity and love and sobriety and life and love and all that new age-y stuff because it effing rocks.